West Seattle, Washington
Another West Seattle nonprofit is in for a change at the top. Just announced by the West Seattle Helpline:
The West Seattle Helpline is hiring a new Executive Director to lead the organization into the next phase of its efforts to put a stop to homelessness in West Seattle and White Center. The current Executive Director of the WS Helpline, Chris Langeler, will transition out in September 2017 after 2 1/2 years leading the organization.
Langeler says, “It has been a true honor to serve the West Seattle and White Center communities in this role. When I was hired, I made a commitment to our Board of Directors to give my all for 2-3 years to help the organization grow and reach its full potential. I’m so proud of the strides that we’ve made and immensely grateful to our incredible donors, volunteers, partners, and staff that have made this possible. I’m not yet sure about my next steps, but I am sure that I will always cherish my time here and will never stop supporting the West Seattle Helpline.”
The WS Helpline has grown significantly in the last two years, adding multiple staff members and more than doubling the number of volunteers. The result has been a significant increase in the number of West Seattle and White Center residents served through emergency rent & utility assistance, bus tickets, and the Clothesline, an all-ages clothing bank, recently moved to a new location in the WS Junction. The organization just finalized a two-year strategic plan for 2017-2019 and is seeking a new leader to implement that plan and further its mission:
Board member Rev. Ron Marshall says, “As one of the founders of the WS Helpline, I can say for certain that our organization is stronger and doing more to serve our community than ever before. We’re thankful to Chris for helping the organization grow and expand its impact over the last two-and-a-half-years. Now is the perfect time for us to select our next leader to help us take the next step toward put a stop to homelessness in West Seattle & White Center.”
The job description was posted online this week and the deadline to apply is Monday, August 23rd at 9:00 am. The WS Helpline encourages everyone to share the description widely with qualified candidates who may be interested in applying. More on the opportunity and how to apply is available (here).
(Timothy Brock’s video invitation to Tuesday’s event, courtesy of the Southwest Seattle Historical Society)
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
The last time composer/conductor Timothy Brock was onstage in West Seattle, he was a WSHS student, performing with one of the school’s musical groups.
During his years at the school, he was involved with them all – band, orchestra, stage band, chamber orchestra, choir – he recalled during a conversation this week outside the Admiral Theater, where he’s headlining the next fundraiser for restoration of the moviehouse’s historic circa-1942 murals:
At 6:45 pm next Tuesday night (July 25th), he will be onstage just a few blocks from his alma mater, in a multifaceted event explained by the Southwest Seattle Historical Society, which is leading the mural-restoration fundraising campaign:
This exciting evening – to last more than three hours, with an intermission – will start with Timothy Brock being interviewed by his childhood friend, West Seattle’s Dave Beck, a host at KING-FM and longtime former KUOW-FM host.
Brock will reminisce with Beck about their West Seattle upbringing and discuss the fascinating process of scoring silent classics. (Brock earned the label of “Silent-Film Music Guru” from Vogue magazine in May 2016.)
Interspersed will be stills and clips from silent films that Brock has scored. Following an intermission, Brock will introduce the screening of the Charlie Chaplin feature “Modern Times,” for which Brock has restored and re-recorded the original 1936 Chaplin score.
This isn’t Brock’s first trip back home – far from it. His mom and sister live in this area. His oldest son lives in Olympia. That’s where Brock moved at age 18, leaving West Seattle, and eventually spending more than a decade conducting the Olympia Chamber Orchestra. Olympia is where he says most of his “silent-film experiments” were initiated, but he now lives in Europe, where there is more of an appreciation for what he specializes in – composing scores for silent films. And it’s not just an appreciation from the spectator standpoint; Brock explains that silent-film history is taught, and in France, there’s even a program to teach silent-film composition.
His path toward his unique career started with a visit to the now-gone Granada Theater (south of The Junction) at an early age. “I actually came back and said to my mom, ‘this is something I would really like to do – play piano and make music for really old films’. She didn’t know I meant silent films. (I explained), ‘no, these don’t have any words at all, just words (onscreen) and music’. She’s been worried about my career ever since.”
He was age 10 when that interest was kindled. At 23, he was commissioned to write his first silent-film score, for “Pandora’s Box,” a film by G.W. Pabst. Since then, he says, he’s written on average one silent-film score a year. He just completed one for Fritz Lang‘s 1929 “Frau im Mond (Woman in the Moon),” a three-hour science-fiction film that he says was the first of its kind. The premiere was last April. He’s now writing a violin concerto for the BBC Symphony, to premiere next season, in 2018-2019.
So what’s it going to be like, to be onstage at The Admiral next Tuesday? we asked.
“It’s the most bizarre feeling to see your name on the marquee of a theater you grew up with,” Brock acknowledged. But also – “It’s great. It’s a little like coming back home and playing for your friends … talking with family and friends about what it is that you do.”
We asked how he views the importance of what it is that he does – Southwest Seattle Historical Society executive director Clay Eals recorded Brock’s answer on video:
As you can hear in the video, he listed several reasons – “It’s part of our heritage, specifically for Americans, too … an art form that has obviously died out,” as have most of the people who performed as silent-film musicians. So many of them, Brock explained, performed in symphony orchestras as well as the theater orchestras that played the silent-film accompaniment. And now – “It’s a matter of keeping that art up, learning the craft, teaching it to future generations. One of the reasons I live in Europe is that orchestras of middle- and high-caliber program silent films as part of their seasons.”
The music itself, he added, is of great historical value, with work by composers such as Shostakovich “who liked the idea of writing for this [then-]new art form. … It needs to be kept alive.” Brock’s work includes the silent-film programs for the New York Philharmonic: “It’s important just like any period performances of baroque or Middle Ages [etc.] music.”
And his early music education at West Seattle High School helped lay the groundwork for his one-of-a-kind career. In our conversation, he listed “some fabulous teachers,” including Donn Weaver, who recently retired as director of the West Seattle Big Band.
So come to The Admiral on Tuesday night to see and hear how one of your former West Seattle neighbors is preserving and enhancing film and music history, while contributing to the preservation and restoration of the theater’s historic murals. Tickets are $20 and you’ll want to buy yours online ASAP – go here and choose “Modern Times” at the bottom of the page. (There’s also a $100 VIP opportunity, to meet and talk with Brock and Beck at 5:30 pm.)
ORIGINAL SUNDAY REPORT, 6:25 PM: Again this year, dozens of Northwest tribes are sending canoes on a regional journey to a gathering site, and Alki Beach is one of the stops along the way. Last year was the first time in four years that they stopped at Alki, where the Muckleshoots are the hosts; here’s our coverage of their arrival and their departure. Last year the canoe families were headed to the South Sound; this year, participants are taking separate routes to Campbell River, British Columbia, with arrival there on August 5th. The Alki stop is set for this Wednesday, July 19th, departing the next day; we don’t have specific times yet but will update when we do.
MONDAY MORNING UPDATE: We’re told the arrivals are expected around 3 pm.
Thanks to John Vair for the photo and report:
Over a period of 4 years starting in June 2013, the Boy Scouts from local Troop 284 rebuilt trail steps in Camp Long that rise along the Glacier Climbing Wall on the east side of the camp.
Four of the Scouts led phases of the rebuild as their Eagle Scout projects: Bennett Pagliarini, Michael Pennie, James Vair, and Jonathan Vair.
Originally constructed out of wood timbers by the Works Progress Administration in 1940, the stairs had become worn, broken, and difficult to traverse. The Scouts constructed the new steps from recycled granite sidewalk curbs formerly used in downtown Seattle, and completed the project on June 11.
Next time you’re at Junction Plaza Park (42nd SW/SW Alaska), look for that plaque on the center bench on the west side. The Lions Club of West Seattle worked with the city to get it placed in honor of their parent organization’s centennial, and in a short ceremony this morning, club leaders were joined by City Councilmember Lisa Herbold to celebrate its placement:
The councilmember read a special proclamation in the club’s honor:
The Lions wanted to add a new bench to the park, not just a new plaque, but couldn’t get that worked out with the Parks Department in time. If you’re not familiar with the Lions, they’re a community-service organization that supports sight- and hearing-impaired people as well as students seeking scholarships – read more about their work here, and go here to find out about events at which you’re welcome to join them.
After decades of teaching, those two West Seattleites are moving to the next phase of their lives. The announcement, from their family:
This month, two longtime (37+-year) educators are retiring from the teaching world.
Nancy Hallberg (who helped facilitate the White Center Heights Elementary musical instrument drive a few years back) is retiring from her position as the librarian at WCH, where she dazzled the students, introducing them to Roald Dahl and Dr. Seuss, encouraging them to find a passion for reading and exploring their talents.
Peter Junkerman is retiring his beakers and stepping into a life free of lab experiments after 35+ years as a science teacher. He spent the last 10+ at Chief Sealth International HS as the IB Chemistry teacher; and his career revloved around igniting the fire of learning, pushing students to find new ways to think about the environment, molecules, and the world around them. He has earned the distingushed honor of being a “Junkerman” as told by the Urban Dictonary:
a very awesome teacher, or someone who is really good at teaching other people
Karl: i don’t get this problem
Hamda: just call over the teacher, he’s a total junkerman, he’ll help you out.
They plan to spend their lazy days of retirement traveling, walking in Lincoln Park, and reading for pleasure. Hanging out with their kids and grandbaby will keep their days interesting.
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
Next Sunday’s bystander-training workshop presented by Anti-Hate Alaska Junction isn’t the first event of its kind in West Seattle.
But it’s the first since two people were murdered in Portland during an incident that began as bystander intervention – three men trying to stop another from harassing two young women, shouting anti-Muslim slurs.
The upcoming local workshop was planned before that happened; we received the original announcement earlier that week. It shone a brighter light on questions about what to do if you’re there when hate happens, so we sat down to talk with the presenter, Rev. Andrew Conley-Holcom of Admiral Congregational Church, and organizer Susan Oatis of Anti-Hate Alaska Junction.
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
Eight years ago, West Seattle writer Linnea Westerlind “decided all of a sudden to try to visit all the parks in the city in a year.”
Not that she wasn’t already having enough of an adventure, as the parent of a son who was six months old at the time she started her exploration – and then, “in the middle of that, I had twins.”
So with three little park-going companions, she continued the park visits. “I loved parks and was just in love with the park system and decided to turn it into something more tangible.
“Discovering Seattle Parks,” just published by Harbor Island-headquartered Mountaineers Books, is the result. It’s also, Westerlind says, the first guidebook to Seattle parks in more than 40 years, spotlighting more than 100 of them.
After hearing about it, we requested an interview, and sat down at one of her favorite West Seattle parks – Lowman Beach – this past Monday.
First anniversary announcement we have received in a while. Congratulations to the Quinns!
Michael and Victoria Quinn are celebrating their 35th wedding anniversary on June 12. They have happily journeyed together from Pullman to New Hampshire, then Oregon, and finally West Seattle, with a year in England thrown in for good measure. Along the way they have been blessed with three remarkable children, a talented son-in-law, and a precocious granddaughter.
Alki’s a little cleaner after one hour of volunteer help today – thanks to Kersti Muul for the photos and report!
Today many groups are meeting at several beaches to help clean up for “An hour for the ocean” another event for Orca Month.
I worked with Whale Scout at Alki and we got 100 pounds of trash in one hour, in a small stretch near the bathhouse!
Beautiful day, beautiful people. We had a woman from Poland there, and one from Colombia helping, amazing!
More chances to clean up the beach are coming up this summer – including a Seal Sitters event two weeks from today!
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
One month ago, King County Public Health went public with alarming news: A toddler somewhere in the county had become severely ill with a rare disease linked to parasites found in raccoon droppings.
It’s so rare that this was the first case ever reported in our state, one of fewer than 30 reported in the U.S. since 1973.
This weekend, we learned the young patient is a 20-month-old West Seattle boy named Reed. His mom, Mandy Hall, told her family’s story publicly for the first time, in an online group, and contacted WSB too, because she is determined to educate as many people as possible about the roundworm known as Baylisascaris.
Their terrifying ordeal is not over yet, but Reed “continues to improve literally by the minute,” Mandy said.
Here’s how it began: “On April 26th, I called Reed’s pediatrician because he was sleeping so much. He had been sleeping long hours through the night and taking naps over 3 hours for a few days. This day, by the afternoon he had only been awake for 2 hours. They said it was likely a growth spurt and commented on great timing with me being due with our baby girl the following day … But something in me didn’t feel right. I tried setting him down to walk when he woke and his balance was off.”
If you have memories of “Mr. Herk” to share – that can help with a special sendoff that’s in the works! Here’s the announcement:
Please help us in honoring a special teacher who has served our local community.
After 34 years of teaching, Jim Herk, kindergarten teacher at Genesee Hill Elementary, is retiring this June.
“Mr. Herk” taught for 14 years at MLK, Jr. Elementary in Seattle before switching to Schmitz Park Elementary where he has been teaching kindergarteners for 20 years (this year at the new Genesee Hill Elementary). Acknowledged by many as the “Kindergarten Whisperer,” Mr. Herk is known for his calm and unruffled demeanor. He has helped more than 700 youngsters successfully acclimate to their first year of elementary school, from the most rowdy to the most timid of children. Mr. Herk is known for leading the traditional school Halloween parade, the annual Kindergarten Pumpkin Patch trip, and the annual Kindergarten Graduation BBQ and low-tide party.
We need your help! Please send photos, well wishes, and stories to HerkRetirement@gmail.com by Monday, June 12th. These will be organized into a Memory/Retirement Book for Mr. Herk. We can also include notes posted to this blog post. Photos do not have to include Mr. Herk. We also want photos of your child in Kindergarten or photos that highlight the school Halloween Parade or Low-Tide Graduation BBQ.
Please also spread the word to parents and students who may have had Mr. Herk as a teacher years ago. Help us fill the book and send off Mr. Herk with great memories and appreciation.
Congratulations to Chief Sealth International High School alum Nicole Roed for a big athletic achievement in her college career at Cal Lutheran in Southern California – she just received Division 3 All-America honors from the Association of Collegiate Water Polo Coaches.
According to this report on the Cal Lutheran website, Roed “started 26 times and appeared in 28 games overall (and) paced the offense as a utility player, scoring a team-high 47 goals with a .495 shooting percentage on the season. She was a balanced player who added 21 drawn ejections, 15 steals, 12 assists and seven field blocks.” This is her sophomore year at Cal Lutheran. Thanks to proud mom Cori Roed for sharing the news!
One day after what he had proclaimed to be Gun Violence Awareness Day in Seattle – concurrent with other designations nationwide – Mayor Ed Murray quietly participated in today’s Alki rally, joining the “Wear Orange“ group that had walked from Anchor Park.
Murray didn’t speak. Two moms who lost their sons in deadly shootings did. The first, to homicide … the second, to what claims even more lives every year: Suicide. Some in the crowd could be heard crying as Rachel Smith-Mosel told the story of how her 20-year-old son Brennen Smith was able to get a gun in minutes while waiting weeks for mental-health care (we recorded her story in two parts):
(The health-care organization that made her son wait in 2015 later changed its policies, according to journalist Jesse Jones‘s report.)
Smith-Mosel’s requests to the crowd included that they support gun-safety education in schools and that they talk with their families about suicide prevention: “More access to mental health, less access to guns.”
The rally’s sponsors, Moms Demand Action and Everytown for Gun Safety, also displayed 93 pairs of orange shoes, one for each person shot to death on an average day in the U.S..
A week and a half ago, one of those lives was lost steps from the site of today’s rally, when 23-year-old Jordan Thomas was shot and killed at 62nd/Alki. His death was mentioned in organizers’ introductory remarks. His killer remains at large. Organizers stressed, “This is not about a gun debate, this is not about gun control – this is about doing what’s right for our kids.”
1 lap down, 65 to go for Lou, who is a retired, beloved PE teacher here. pic.twitter.com/bS8QGQpQKa
— West Seattle Blog (@westseattleblog) June 2, 2017
9:40 AM: That’s Lou Cutler finishing his first lap a short time ago at Pathfinder K-8, where the retired PE teacher celebrates his birthday every year by running one lap for each year of his age, as a fundraiser for Make-A-Wish.
This morning, speaking to students and others just before starting his 66-lap day, Lou declared it “the greatest day of the year”:
We’ll be checking back at Pathfinder (1901 SW Genesee if you want to stop by and join in – and here’s his donation-drive link).
12:51 PM: We’re back at Pathfinder. After a little more than three hours, Lou’s finishing Lap 53 of 66.
Students filter in and out throughout the day – while Lou and teacher Andy were close to alone on the field, we’re told a couple of Pathfinder grades are about to rejoin them. The laps so far total 9 miles, we’re told.
1:42 PM: Minutes ago, Lou finished the 66th lap:
Lou did it again! Lap 66 just completed pic.twitter.com/NmbvQJAmdM
— West Seattle Blog (@westseattleblog) June 2, 2017
Loud cheers and chants of LOU! LOU! LOU! echoed around the field. And then, the victory photo:
Lou’s been a “wish-granting” volunteer for MAW for more than 20 years, even longer than he’s been doing this run. His actual birthday is later this month, so he’s still only 65, and as he started the second-to-last lap, with that number, he hollered, “A great year to be alive!”
P.S. And yes, he says he plans to do it again next year.
Take five minutes in honor of Memorial Day and those who served, by listening to three West Seattle men – all World War II veterans – tell their stories: 96-year-old Harry Rose, US Army Air Corps veteran; 95-year-old John Kelley, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers veteran; and 92-year-old Elmer Lindseth, U.S. Navy veteran. The video was produced by The Kenney – where they live – and Jaroslaw Media.
Congratulations to nine local high-school students honored recently with scholarships from two organizations:
LIONS CLUB OF WEST SEATTLE: Eight students from West Seattle High School and Chief Sealth International High School received scholarships from the Lions Club this year. The club shared the photo, saying, “We wish them the very best and look forward to learning of their achievements.” The students are Vince Carbito, Quinn Gerberding, Wan Yu Guan, Madison Brodahl, Andrew Burggraff, Riley Fredericks, Lily Foucalt, Michelle Ly.
101 CLUB: Thanks to Nicole Sipila from the Chief Sealth IHS PTSA for sharing this photo and announcement:
The 101 Club awarded eight Seattle high-school student-athletes with college scholarships at the 84th Scholar Athlete Awards Luncheon on Thursday at the Washington Athletic Club. Every high school in the Metro League plus the high schools from Seattle that are in KingCo 4A were represented at the luncheon. Student athletes from each high school were nominated for the scholarships and received plaques. One student from Chief Sealth, Nathan Perrine, earned a $1,500 scholarship.
P.S. Both schools have graduation ceremonies on June 21st at Southwest Athletic Complex – 5 pm for Sealth, 8 pm for WSHS.
The tally’s in, and the West Seattle Food Bank is expressing gratitude tonight for everyone involved with last Saturday’s Instruments of Change fundraiser. From WSFB’s Judi Yazzolino:
The Board of Directors and Staff of the West Seattle Food Bank would like to graciously thank our sponsors, donors, guests and our dedicated and hardworking volunteers for making our 10th Annual Instruments of Change Dinner/Auction such a huge success, raising over $148,500, which was $17,000 more than last year.
More than 250 guests joined us on Saturday evening, May 13th at The Seattle Design Center to not only raise money for the many programs and services provided to those in need as well as celebrating the 10th anniversary of the 35th & Morgan location.
This extremely fun event featured a hosted Happy Hour where guests enjoyed tossing a ring for a bottle of wine in the Wine Toss, tasting some fabulous liquor and cocktails by Peel & Press and bidding on unique Silent Auction items donated by West Seattle businesses.
After sitting down for dinner, provided by Tuxedos and Tennis Shoes Catering, guests participated in a very energetic Heads or Tails, a live auction where guests bid on having their table served wine by board president & owner of Viscon Cellars, Ben Viscon (left), a table of specialty drink made by The Bridge and dashed for some incredible desserts donated by the best in our community. After a film produced by Huskinson Productions and a heartwarming talk by client Robert Duris, guests generously raised their paddles for those in the West Seattle community in need of a little help.
Please congratulate Metropolitan Market and their customers for being the recipient of our 2nd Annual Instrument of Change Award. Two past managers, Darryl Pittman and Glen Hasstedt, and current manager Paul Marth (all 3 at right) were there to accept the award. We have such appreciation for the generosity that the Metropolitan Market customers give us every year during food drives and the annual Holiday Drive and certainly to Metropolitan Market for donating food to us for our clients every single day!
Thank You to Our Generous Sponsors!
We’d like to thank the sponsors who generously supported us this year: HomeStreet Bank, Nucor Steel, CHI Franciscan Health, Seattle & Oregon Wine Awards; CoHo Team of Windermere Agents; First Lutheran Church of West Seattle; Holy Rosary School; Viscon Cellars; Quail Park Memory Care Residence of West Seattle; David & Jarvis Weld; Avalon Glassworks; Ncompass Construction; Swedish Automotive; Verity Credit Union; West Seattle Blog; Financial Design. Thank you so much for your continued support. You are truly instruments of positive change!
Thank you so much, West Seattle! All proceeds from Instruments of Change will ensure the thousands of children, seniors and adults the West Seattle Food Bank serves have access to quality, healthy food and other needed services.
(Among the businesses/organizations mentioned above, Metropolitan Market, Peel & Press, HomeStreet Bank, CHI Franciscan Health, Quail Park Memory Care, Ncompass Construction, Viscon Cellars, and Swedish Automotive also are WSB sponsors.)
On this day when we celebrate families … here’s a reminder that “family” doesn’t always require blood ties. In The Admiral District, students from Lafayette Elementary School have been spending time with residents at Brookdale Admiral Heights, which is less than a block north, in a program called “Senior Buddies.”
Nancy Cossette, resident-programs coordinator at Brookdale AH, shared the photos and explained, “Residents at our senior community have paired up with third-grade students from Lafayette in a 6-week curriculum project, and the results have been truly magical.”
Nancy continues, “There’s at least a 60-year age difference between them, but you wouldn’t know it. They became pals at their first meeting, so we dubbed them ‘Senior Buddies.’ Since then, they’ve been busy getting to know each other and working together on writing (with pencil and paper; no technology here!), presenting, interviewing and perhaps most importantly, conversation. Plus, songs, games and art projects.”
And: “Research has shown that intergenerational programs can benefit both age groups immeasurably. As you can see on our residents’ faces, they’ve gained friendships and enjoyed teaching moments with their 8- and 9-year-old students.” She says the project will wrap up this month, “with a final sendoff in June before school’s out. Several have already asked if they can come visit during the summer break. We’ll start again in the fall with new classes of third-graders and more eager residents.”
Thanks to Lai Wong-Smith for the photos and report:
A West Seattle team is headed to the International Competition for MATE ROV (Marine Advanced Technology Education remotely operated underwater vehicle) after winning the Pacific Northwest Regional Competition (Saturday) with their underwater robot! The Junior Huskies took first place in the Ranger division at the Weyerhaeuser Aquatic Center with tough competition from teams throughout the region.
The independent team is comprised of four West Seattle 8th graders who attend Washington Middle School – Aidan Grambihler, Colby Smith, Graham Hyland, and Owen Tiffany. The team has known each other since Lafayette Elementary days when they played soccer together and built robots with Legos. Last year, their first year in the competition, they took first place at the Scout level. This year they jumped two divisions to the more advanced Ranger level competing with high school teams. Their mentor is Alex Miller, a West Seattle high school senior who won the International competition in 2015. A special thanks to their coach Hope Broucek for her dedication, and Alex Williams for his engineering guidance.
The international competition is in Long Beach, California, June 23-25th. This year’s competition theme is based on PORT CITIES OF THE FUTURE: Commerce, Entertainment, Health, and Safety. For more info on MATE and the competition, go here.
Story by Tracy Record
Photos by Patrick Sand
West Seattle Blog co-publishers
An unusual backdrop for this morning’s annual Westside Awards breakfast … fog.
Salty’s on Alki (WSB sponsor) was the location as usual and as you know if you’ve been there, that usually means a spectacular view of the city skyline and Elliott Bay right outside the banquet-room doors. This morning’s fog meant nothing was visible behind the speakers but the deck and a couple of Canada geese strolling (and honking) on it.
Nobody seemed to mind. The spotlight was fully on the award-winners, after a few words from West Seattle Chamber of Commerce leadership – board chair Paul Prentice‘s welcome, and CEO Lynn Dennis‘s appreciation for the organization’s 200+ members and spirit of collaboration. That last attribute, in fact, played into one award-winner’s unique acceptance presentation – including the sign atop our story – you’ll see it later.
Keynote speaker was King County Chair Joe McDermott, introduced by Dennis as a third-generation West Seattleite, running down his local cred including scooping ice cream at Husky Deli, as well as his academic and political chops.
McDermott described the theme of his talk as “why we do what we do.” But first – history – the Beach Broiler, which was on the pier that now holds Salty’s, half a century earlier. Two years ago, he said, his family gathered to celebrate his parents’ 50th wedding anniversary.
His career, McDermott said, traces back to the question “What are you going to do when you grow up?” For a while, he thought he would become a civil engineer, bui;ding bridges. A trip back east in his senior year changed everything. “I saw government up close and realized I wanted to go into public service.” His mother warned “there’s no money in that” – though, he said, she had spent her career in education!
“I believe I am still solving problems and building bridges,” he said. That included the resilience fund newly approved by the county on behalf of immigrants and refugees: “These are our friends, our neighbors, our co-workers” – and immigrant-owned businesses are worth $1.2 billion to the local economy. He talked about the fear sown by President Trump’s executive orders. “I’ve heard the real fear and apprehension in these communities.”
But with the resilience fund and education, “this further affirms that King County is a welcoming place … for everyone who resides here.” McDermott acknowledged similar work by the Seattle City Council – represented at this morning’s event by District 1 City Councilmember Lisa Herbold – having passed a defense fund for immigrants.
McDermott also spoke about the Access For All sales-tax measure sent to the August 1st ballot by the County Council this week. He singled out West Seattle’s ArtsWest and Southwest Seattle Historical Society as expected beneficiaries. “We will invest in programs that change lives and give kids more access to the same opportunities and help our communities thrive. Everyone in King County will benefit.” McDermott said the program also includes money for transportation, to take kids to sites such as the Pacific Science Center, Museum of Flight, and Woodland Park Zoo.
“The resilience fund and Access for All are two key King County Council achievements since the first of the year,” he declared. “… Know that your involvement is essential. E-mail me. Call me. Come to testify on legislation … let me know what your thoughts, your concerns, your interests are … not just me, but all your elected officials. … Let us know what’s on your mind.”
Then, to the awards, which Dennis explained are not a popularity contest – nominations are solicited from the community (not just Chamber members) each year, and carefully reviewed before decisions are made.
Strength, integrity, equality are qualities of hers, Evans said, recounting Throop’s background as a leader in not just elder care, but also in the LGBTQ community. “She is an amazing person,” Evans said.
He had also mentioned Throop’s mom, who she cited as inspiration. Ten years ago, Throop said, her mom declared she was moving to Seattle, and when she looked around to find support for her, she couldn’t. With what she learned, she started a business. “I truly love what I do,” she said – helping people, referring them to trusted professionals, “many of whom are in this room.” She spoke warmly of collaborating with other businesses, including many WSCC members. “They say beside every woman stands another great woman,” she declared, pointing out and thanking her wife Angela. She said the award was not only gratifying, but touching.
Next, Pete Spalding, chamber vice chair, introduced Dan Austin, proprietor of Emerging Business of the Year winner Peel and Press (WSB sponsor) in Morgan Junction. Spalding, who has long advocated for the West Seattle Food Bank, talked about Austin’s enthusiastic contribution to it, and to other fundraisers (like this one). He also is opening a second restaurant (in Boulevard Park).
Austin said he was humbled to accept the award “on behalf of my great team” – three of whom are in the photo above, with him – and said he felt it was on behalf of the entire small-business community in West Seattle, listing many others that “have all stepped up and helped contribute in these events.” He said working with the Food Bank has “been a blast,” and thanked his wife and two children for their help and inspiration. “To give back to the community is something I learned growing up and watching my parents,” he explained, recounting their volunteerism. “I feel incredibly blessed that (Peel and Press) has been received so well in the community … and we just want to continue to give back.”
While Austin said that concern about the City Council’s dealings with businesses was part of his motivation to expand outside Seattle, he thanked Councilmember Herbold for “sitting down and listening” to those concerns.
Spalding also introduced Southwest Youth and Family Services, recipient of the Not-for-Profit of the Year award. He talked about SWYFS’s evolution and addition of programs, with programs focused on youth development, mental help, family support, and education.
Executive director Steve Daschle and board chair Laura Ware accepted the award.
“It’s always meaningful to be recognized by your family and friends,” she said, noting that SWYFS has a “low profile … we’re known but not that well known.” She said “there are a lot of kids in our community who are scared… they need a safe place to go after school … if they come to this country and don’t know our language they may need (help) and Southwest Youth and Family can provide that.”
Daschle spoke of a recent event honoring kids, all children of immigrants and refugees, receiving scholarship awards to inspire them to complete their education and go on to college. “This will be the first time anyone in their family has completed high school, let alone going on to college … that’s what we’re all about … we’re about partnerships in transforming their lives.”
Finally, Prentice introduced Westsider of the Year honoree Maria Groen, someone he said he had known for 20 years. He spoke of her volunteer service as well as her professional work with nonprofits.
“So many other people deserve this,” Groen declared as she began, saying she was accepting it “on behalf of countless behind the scene volunteers … and do-gooders in our community.” She brought up some other “do-gooders” and said she wanted to inspire “anyone who is not yet engaged in their community” to change that and do something. She listed a long (and at times rhyming) list of all the ways you can help. “When you work for a greater good, you are forever changed.” Here’s how it unfolded, including audience participation toward the end (the sign-waving starts 2 1/2 minutes in):
That brought a standing ovation, after which Prentice wrapped up the event by urging everyone to check the Chamber website for upcoming events including a chance for everyone to honor Groen’s philosophy of being a “do-gooder” – by joining in a community cleanup on May 18th.
Just announced – and you’re invited:
This Friday, May 5th, from 5-9 pm, the West Seattle Chapter (#23) of DAV (Disabled American Veterans) is hosting a community potluck at their Chapter Hall, located at 4857 Delridge Way SW. The potluck is open to all. DAV provides services for men and women who were injured or disabled while serving our country. The warm people at DAV offer a welcoming place for vets and their families to connect with each other and receive support. Feel free to come and enjoy the food and community at this special West Seattle gathering in support of our local heroes.
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
In this more-uncertain-than-ever time for nonprofits and the people they serve … you need to know who’s at work in our community, and what they do.
Toward that goal, more than 130 people gathered this morning in Hatten Hall, upstairs at the Senior Center of West Seattle, to celebrate what it does, and to raise money so it can keep doing what it does. Their generosity surpassed the morning’s $35,000 target, eventually totaling almost $40,000, executive director Lyle Evans told WSB this afternoon.
Never been to the Senior Center? It’s far from a stereotypically dour place with dour people. It’s a place with programs, services, and gatherings offering, among other things, food, fun, flexibility, and family – the one you find, as well as the one you were born into.